James “Smokey” West’s Analysis of the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao Fight

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Updated: May 9, 2015

I watched the fight the other night and felt the outcome was fair and correct and my analysis of the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight based on my professional experiences as trainer is clear. The articles I have been reading are sort of a mixed bag of emotions and ideas of who really won the fight. Floyd won the fight. Also most agree the fight fell short of the hype and I can understand why many would feel this way.

Over the last 20 years or so … boxing and kickboxing sort of fell by the wayside as pay-per-view and satellite TV etc. took over and kept the Mixed Martial Arts in the main stream media, while boxing fell from the TV Networks and exposure to many of the on-going fights were barely noticed while MMA flourished. The bottom line is fans from all over the world have become accustomed to watching MMA and other nearly no-rules cage matches, with four ounce finger free gloves and lots of blood and action. Even when some of the MMA fighters are not comfortable with punching, they can easily enough take an opponent to the ground and keep the actions going. I guess if you are a fight enthusiast, you would certainly hope there would be more action. If it were up to Manny there most likely would have been. Damn even if it were up to Floyds father there would have been more punches thrown, more of a brawl, which after all is what we have recently become excited about. Look if a NASCAR race never had an accident, the fans would stop paying. Gamblers on the other hand, well if they have something at stake, gamblers will always be there for the outcome.

So here is my take. This fight was somewhat predictable for a number of reasons. I paid for the event simply because it was history in the making, due to the size of the purse. Going in I felt if Manny were to pull this out, it would have to be an all-out blitz over the first four rounds, punches in bunches. I also knew if the fight went the distance Floyd would win. I knew this for several reasons. With this knowledge I was sure this would not be an exciting fight, if Floyd dictated the pace, which he did.

You see Floyd is an “old School” boxer, treating boxing like a lost art.
Remember this is not a street fight, nor is this a cage fight.

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(Source: Jason Merritt, Getty Images)

I think the first right hand Floyd landed really set the pace with Manny. It took one right hand to the chin for Manny to realize, Floyd could hurt him. Anytime a fighter has been knocked out in the past, if you hit him hard enough there mind reverts back to that moment. So I feel although Manny fought his way through this, he was almost, from the on-set taken out of his rhythm and reduced to a very predictable, but still dangerous fighter.

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(Source: Robert Beck, Getty Images)

If you look at the fight set up, Floyd has awesome footwork, hand speed and defense.
Manny has great stamina, punch power and throws more combinations. How did this match up?
Look, Manny had his moments, although they were few and far between. Even the bulk of his occasional flurrying was picked off by Floyd’s defense, hitting Floyd in the arms.

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(Source: Al Bello / Staff, Getty Images)

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(Source: Al Bello / Staff, Getty Images)

Also the ring size was a benefit to Mayweather. Floyd has multi-dimensional footwork. Manny has good foot-work, but his stance is generally too wide to keep up with Floyd. Manny’s wide stance coupled with his aggressive fighting style did not work, in a large ring, using an aggressive fight style. His center of gravity was too low. Pacquiao basically has to shift his weight before he stepped; this is what I call “move to move”. Meaning he takes two steps or shifts twice, before he is in a position to delivery flush & accurate punches.

Floyd also presented a wide stance from time to time, but he was fighting a mostly a defensive counter fight, or what I would classify as a counter aggressive strategy. Also there is a footwork drill I train my fighters called entrapment footwork and Floyd has it down to a science.

Taking advantage of Manny’s aggressive fighting style, every time Manny made a move forward, he telegraphed his movement before he even throws a punch. By doing this, Floyd could easily move out of the way by moving backwards and either slightly left or right, avoiding going straight back. When Floyd stepped out to his left, he would throw a counter left hook over Manny’s right, taking advantage of a low stance and profile of an aggressive Manny, whose hands are lower than Floyds. The low profile wide stance may work better when your opponent is attacking and you are countering. Another disadvantage is, the wider your stance, the more tired you will become faster.

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(Source: Robert Beck, Getty Images)

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(Source: Robert Beck, Getty Images)

(Source: Robert Beck, Getty Images) (Source; John Gurzinski / stringer Getty Images)

When Floyd would step back and move to his right, he would typically crowd or smother Pacquiao’s left hand, his strong side. This may also have contributed to Manny possibly re-injuring a pre-existing injury. Anytime your mechanics are bad for any reason, cutting punches off short like this, biometrically you are more prone to shoulder injuries. I think this was a second deciding factor.

Manny was too slow getting off in the first few rounds; he was chasing Floyd in around the ring, instead of out boxing him. He was probably hurt early and later re-injured his shoulder. For this, Manny simply fought the wrong fight, the wrong strategy and truly never got into a good rhythm. The ring was too big for Manny’s strategy against a guy like Floyd who has great command of the larger ring. Make no mistake; Floyd can fight off the ropes very well also.

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(Source: Robert Beck, Getty Images)

Because Manny was walking straight in, trying to disguise his wide stance and inability to move forward fast enough, due to a wide stance and low hands. Manny would use a head fake or double jab to cover up his telegraphing footwork. This was a mistake in my opinion. Manny simply fought the wrong fight. Floyd was smart and used a fight strategy that was boring, but extremely effective on this day. He made the right adjustments once he felt Manny was like a hurt animal and just striking out. Too predictable!

I believe on any other day in a smaller ring, Manny could possibly have a different and more exciting outcome. If Manny, “the people’s champion”, sounded like a poor loser in his post-fight interview, he was probably very frustrated about his performance and angry at himself. I think Floyd fought the right fight, even though it seemed boring to others. I think everyone would like to see two fighters going toe to toe, but does that make since if you have the game to out think your opponent?

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